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Cave a Jazz, Paris

San Francisco—February, 2014
Beware: Techie at Table

It's been a long time, and now the youngsters are running the restaurant business in San Francisco. It's not only "citizen journalist" news but ditto restaurant news and reviews. And on yelp, the typical review goes something like this:

"Hey, dude, this place sucks!" or "Hey, dude, this place is fucking awesome!"

There is nothing in between, and the culinary details are lacking.

San Francisco Restaurant & Dining Guide, and other such restaurant guides, used to provide the details, along with background information on restaurants; but that is not the style these days. Now the guiding principle is to quickly lavish praise on a restaurant, or lay waste to it, while using certain overly used phrase and words, such as "Hey, dude," "fucking," and "awesome." The carefully written restaurant review is now a thing of the past.

And there have been many changes of restaurant personnel. For instance, Toni has retired and is no longer behind the bar at Le Central, but then what youngster cares about Le Central anymore? Sure, ex-mayor Willie Brown can still be seen in the window dining with his well-heeled friends, but then who the hell cares about what a person wears anymore. In fact, it is more about what a person doesn't wear that seems to count. Yes, the young set still bathes, and sometimes shaves, but that is about it. A T-shirt at Le Central or Bix's? Sure, why not. Show that dumb, shit-snob waiter in the tux who's got balls and a mouth. Clothes don't make the man anymore, right? Everything is attitude and arrogance, especially the latter.

And of course the true gourmand is now the techie, who knows everything about food and drink and XML, and doesn't hesitate to make the latter the subject of conversation over a pricey meal with a date. While the Extensible Markup Language may be a good subject of conversation at a conference at the Moscone Center on the Internet—Oracle OpenWorld, perhaps?—the young man or woman may wonder why he or she is not "scoring" with his or her date in the open world of romance.

But techie knowledge is not limited to just food. It applies to wine and cocktails and just about everything else imaginable. But, you might fairly ask, who is this techie? Is he or she, or it, the same thing as what has been called a neo-yuppie, twenty-something, Twitter twerp, or NYTSTT? Not exactly. The difference is that the NYTSTT may or may not be a techie. While the techie is presumed to have at least some knowledge of technology, the NYTSTT may have none at all. He or she, or it, may just be a consumer or user of Internet communication products who sometimes tweets, or sends short text message, using Twitter.

Hey, dude, Ashley is fucking awesome in bed. Pics later, Phil.

But do not assume that the techie is necessarily a person who understands or creates technology. While the true technology innovator, who is a scientist or engineer, has deep understanding of technology, the techie has only superficial understanding and is engaged in creating electronic gadgets or gizmos for consumers using high-level programming languages that almost any office worker could manipulate.

Nevertheless, you might find either of these individuals at the best restaurant discussing the latest consumer electronic products while even using one such product to contact a person not actually present at the table. While in the past such people could be ignored, that is no longer possible now. That is because of the volumn of their voices and the fact that they are broadcasting the non-present member of their conversation from a speaker on one of their devices. The late Ed Moose of the Washington Street Bar & Grill had a way of coping with this: He placed a note on every table that said, "Please Turn Off Your Cell Phone and Enjoy Your Meal!" Imagine the laughter that such a note would receive these days.

Who the fuck's Ed Moose? ... (gag, choke, giggle) ... Dude's totally not cool!

But back to the techie or NYTSTT lunch or dinner. Not only are these kids experts, of sorts, on smart phones and iPADs and other hand-held devices, they are also passionate gourmands and experts on food, cooking, wine, and cocktails, even though most have only been out of college a few years. It is amazing how a little knowledge can sometimes seem like so much. Ah, to be young again and not know what you don't know. And to have many ignorant friends too, most with loud voices. Without them you could never get away with such grand delusions about knowledge and sophistication.

Do they ever notice, for instance, that their waiter with the charming accent and manners is not French or Italian but rather from Bolivia or Argentina? Do they ever peer into the kitchen and see that the entire kitchen staff is Mexican and looks like it is hiding out from the border patrol? Not likely. Yet these folks describe themselves as "major foodies," whatever that means.

And forget James Beard or Julia Child as a source of culinary knowledge. Ditto Dale DeGroff, King of the Cocktail. What the fuck does that dude know! They are all  "old hat," like Bach and Beethoven, in the age of hip-hop enlightenment. They are oldies, not awesome, and way uncool to Generation Smug & Juvenile, the smujies.

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